When someone decides to make a momentous change in location, one must ponder the pros and cons of such a decision. In this case, the pros were the adventure, advancement opportunities, and financial gain, whereas the con was moving away from everything he knew. It is hard to prove what Hubert considered an adventure, but I do have his military record documenting his compensation history, which may give us a peek into this aspect of his life.
This young Dutchman began a new chapter in his life on March 6, 1921, when he boarded the S.S. Wilis, destination Batavia, Dutch East Indies.
However, before I go there, in an effort to imagine what life was like when he left the Netherlands, I found this video that gives a peek into city life in Groningen. While this is not where Hubert lived, it gives you an idea of what he was leaving behind.
Stamboek Entry: 3/6/1921 Geembarkeered te Rotterdam a.b.as. “Wilis”
Fifty-five days. At sea. In 3rd class or steerage. Now that’s a long trip!
He did it. Even though his father did not want him to. He did it anyway. “What right does he have to have a say in my life?”, he thinks.” He hasn’t acted as a father since I was seven.” That was when his mother died. She was forty-three. As solace, his father turned to the bottle. It must have been too much to bear. How does a man support and raise seven children on his own? Yes, the bottle helped avoid this reality. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Hubert essentially lost his mother, Maria Catharina van Engelshoven (21 Jan 1865, Maastricht, NL) and his father, Servatius Gerardu (29 Jan 1865, Maastricht, NL) that year. It was 1908.
Shortly after the death of his mother, Johannes Hubertus Theodorus Gerardu, better known as Hubert and his two brothers moved in with Servatius’s youngest brother Jos (Hubertus Johannes Josephus Gerardu, 25 Aug 1877). Jos and Elizabeth (Elizabeth van Eijsden, 18 Mar 1878) had five children of their own, so now there were eight. Imagine how loud and crazy it must have been! [Update: Only Hubert went to live with his uncle Jos; one of his younger brothers went to live with another uncle and one to an aunt.]